Bridging gaps: information kiosks in villages soon

The Times of India News Service

PANAJI: Two or three villages in Goa will be among the 25 villages to be selected in the country for introducing information kiosks, a concept developed by Dr Rashmi Mayur of the International Institute for Sustainable Future. These kiosks, costing around Rs 3 lakh, will enable villagers to communicate with the outside world on a people-to-people and government-to-government basis for sustainable development, and will be supported by SyberSay. Already, nearly 15 such kiosks have been installed in Ghana, outside Accra, Dr Mayur said.

According to Dr Mayur, who along with the CEO of Sybersay Communications Steve Puthuff met the Goa industries minister Alexio Sequeira on Thursday, the villages in Goa will be selected for setting up kiosks, to be developed as models for the others. The two, who have already met several Indian entrepreneurs in Mumbai in this regard, said the local people will be the owners and managers of these kiosks.

Cellular phones, personal computers, corded and cordless phones and information appliances, will never be the same with the introduction of SyberSay's wireless personal link interface between people and devices of all types.

This small, light-weight and easy to use, bi-directional earpiece, developed in partnership with Ericsson, provides comfortable, hands-free use of cellular and cordless phones, without the encumbrances of boom microphone or head- band.

Steve Puthuff speaking to reporters in the city on Thursday, said the gadget would enable the appliance owner to listen to conversations through a comfortable earpiece wired to cellular or cordless telephones worn on the body for easy movement of hands, head and body. The cost for a wired device would be around $ 39 and the un-wired one around $ 70, he said, and will keep RF energy away from the users' head, eliminating risk of brain damage that cellular phones are likely to pose.

Expressing his concern at the poor communication facilities offered to the poor in villages, he said, SyberSay saw the information kiosks as an answerto that. Puthuff said that he was impressed with the good law and order situation in India, its high level of technology base, skilled manpower and a large number of English-speaking people, making it much easier for any foreign collaborator to function and do business here, unlike in Korea and China. The visit of President Bill Clinton to India and his stress on promoting IT here, had definitely sent the right signals, as India was a major software player to the US, he said.

In addition to the wired and wireless earpieces, SyberSay is also developing a product line for natural voice communications with Infocomm appliances to provide seamless and convenient information access using Bluetooth connectivity. Bluetooth has been devised by a consortium led by Ericsson, Nokia, Intel, IBM and Toshiba and will enable voice and data transmission over a distance of up to 10 metres.

SyberSay is already collaborating with Taiyo Yuden Co. of Japan, to develop and manufacture the SyberPod, an innovative, next generation link between people and devices of all types.

Source : The Times of India. March 24, 2000